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Noble birth, proof of
(965 words)

Proof of noble birth or proof of ancestry meant evidence of representation of descent from 4, 8, 16, or more noble ancestors. Important primarily in German-speaking Europe, it was a normative instrument of exclusion intended to seal off an institutional or corporate/social inner sanctum from unwelcome intruders. To prove noble birth in the form of a so-called Aufschwörung confirming an individual’s nobility or elevating him to the nobility, the individual being tested and the witnesses had to swear to the individual’s descent – nobility and legitimate birth of his the ancest…

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Graf, Klaus, “Noble birth, proof of”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 10 June 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_SIM_016664>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20200128

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